Original Question: "Good morning. I have a nearly 9-year-old Chihuahua that weighs a mere 5 pounds. She is a house dog that only gets outside during the summer months. Some 5 years ago she had to have an emergency surgery as a result of a growth the size of a golf ball on her lower underbelly. The vet report stated that her vitals were out of whack. Her protein levels were through the roof possibly from being fed a very high protein diet (Orijen dog food) since she was a puppy. Now we feed her Blue Life Protection Formula (and recently Nutro) which contains 18.0% crude protein. Since changing brands we have noticed that she tends to shed more. We now use Furminator De-shedding shampoo and conditioner for her baths and brush her regularly. Is it normal that this breed continues to shed so much? We have gone through a lot of sticky lint brushes! Other than that Kupo is a very healthy dog we think. I listen to your radio program regularly. Hoping to hear from you soon. Cheers!" - Byron
Thanks for your question.
There are dogs that naturally shed more than others but there can be medical reasons for it as well. The fact that you saw a difference in the severity of shedding after a diet change could possibly mean that the new diet has a deficiency. I would first recommend a vitamin supplement that also has omega-3 fatty acids in it. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve skin health and hair quality. You'll be able to find a product like this at your pet supply store or veterinarian. Just like daily vitamins, almost any product will be of sufficient quality for your needs.
I would also recommend that you speak to your veterinarian about this and have a physical exam performed. Other skin conditions and metabolic problems can increase shedding and hair loss such as allergies, hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, skin infections and others. Your veterinarian will be able to give you good guidance on this and I would suspect they would perform routine blood work and inspect the skin closely.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Clayton Greenway
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians does not endorse any products or services mentioned in any responses and answers. All advice presented by our veterinarians is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.
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